A robber who pistol-whipped cashiers in the face during a series of robberies has been jailed.

Reece Whelan, 21, of Arnold Road, Northolt, was sentenced to nine years in jail after admitting six charges of robbery, one of attempted robbery and seven charges of possessing an imitation gun.

Whelan targeted petrol stations across Harrow, Ruislip and Northolt in a two-month spree between March 29 and May 18 last year.

During his attempted robbery at the Esso in Alexandra Avenue, Harrow on May 16, just after 11pm, Whelan hit the cashier in the face with a BB gun, sprayed black to look like a real handgun, causing bruising.

He also pistol-whipped another cashier while robbing the BP in Field End Road, Ruislip on April 7 just before 6am.

When the cashier refused to hand over the cash, he hit them with his fake gun in the head, causing a cut, and stole around £250.

Over the course of the robberies, Whelan stole around £2,306, by demanding cashiers hand him cash from the till.

Detective Constable Alan Mears, of the Met's Flying Squad, said: "Whelan is a violent criminal who used threats and violence to steal cash from petrol stations. He was committing offences at a rate of almost one a week so it was important he was caught as soon as possible."

T/Detective Chief Inspector Scott Hartley, of the Met's Flying Squad, said: "Reece Whelan committed a series of extremely violent offences, causing utter terror to members of staff working at various petrol stations who were faced with an armed man demanding cash.

"As a result of a diligent and painstaking investigation by the Flying Squad, a violent criminal has been brought to justice and sentenced to a lengthy period in jail."

On each occasion Whelan brandished the fake gun, but during the attempted robbery in Harrow, a piece of the gun had broken off and was found at the scene.

When police arrested Whelan at his home on July 4, they seized the BB gun, which has the same piece missing.

He admitted to all 14 charges at Kingston Crown Court on November 29 before his sentencing at the same court on February 26.